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31st Mar 2016

JOE speaks to AIB Start-up Academy finalist, Blackwater Distillery

Eric Lalor

The AIB Start-up Academy Final takes place on April 28th and we are profiling the 11 finalists on both and in the lead up to that date.

11 companies have won a place on the AIB Start-up Academy which is already in progress. The winners are all on an intensive eight week course learning the ropes in the business world.

The featured company today is Blackwater Distillery and we speak to the man behind it, Peter Mulryan.

Blackwater Distillery

JOE: How does it feel to be part of the AIB Start-up Academy?

Peter: Being on the AIB Start-up Academy is a bit like learning to write, drive and juggle chickens – at the same time. It’s a steep roller coaster of a learning curve with free coffee.

JOE: What are you looking forward to most about the AIB Start-up Academy?

Peter: I see myself as an accidental entrepreneur, my background isn’t in business, so I am really looking forward to learning business skills. I don’t mind making mistakes, but if I can save myself some pain then that’s got to be good.

JOE: Is there anything you’re nervous about in joining the AIB Start-up Academy?

Peter: I am not nervous. It’s going to be a tough business boot camp, but I am ready.

JOE: What do you think makes your business stand out from the rest of the finalists?

Peter: We have gin.

JOE: If you win the grand prize, what do you think you will do with the money?

Peter: As a micro-distillery we are playing against global multi-nationals. What they call loose change we call lottery winnings. But to the consumer we are just bottles on a shelf.

Anything we can do to win a sale is vital. In the drinks business branding is key, so we would spend the prize money on improving our brand and on marketing.

JOE: Where do you see your business going after the AIB Start-up Academy?

Peter: We are currently raising €300,000 through the EIIS business expansion scheme; we need this go grow and to give ourselves some economies of scale.

So we are set to expand production, move into whiskey production and shortly after that comes global domination.

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AIB are Backing Brave. To read more about the Start-up Academy in association with the Irish Times, visit here.